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What Christians Can Take Away from Genesis 1

Updated: Dec 1, 2023

In the beginning, God.


Bible Study Ideas and Commentary for Genesis 1:1-2:3

This beautiful passage describing how God created the universe we live in should be inspiring and defining. It tells us who we are as God's image-bearers, how we are to relate to the world, how we are to appreciate time itself. Instead, we argue about stuff. I offer resources to help you understand the arguments, but please focus on the text this week.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. (1:31)


When We Studied This Passage in 2015

I've been putting together these resources since we moved to Thomson, but I didn't start putting them online until Covid. In the years since, I've slowly put the older resources online (1) to get more use out of work I've already done, and (2) to see how my perspective may have changed over the years. Here's my post from 2015:

That title is blunt, and I wouldn't change it 😊 -- now more than ever we need to be absolutely clear that God did create everything (including them). But I think that Genesis 1 is much more complex than I suggested. I'll try to hint at the incredible beauty of this chapter a little better this time around.


Upcoming Sermon Series at FBC

David (our lead pastor at FBC Thomson) is going to be preaching a series on Genesis starting in January. If your group has big-big questions, you might consider setting them aside for a month to see how David handles them.


Getting Started: Things to Think About

The Meaning of Life

Genesis is a book of beginnings. Of the beginning. At the end of our study of Mark,

I challenged you to try to summarize the entire Bible. If you did, you know that the Bible explains the answers to all of life's most important questions. Those questions are introduced in the Book of Genesis, which brilliantly sets out:

  • Where did we come from?

  • Why are we here?

  • Why are things the way they are?


We may as well start there. What's the meaning of life?


We are conditioned to make fun of that question. Comics and comedians mine that for all it's worth. (And most of them are too crass to share in a Bible study):

Charles Schultz also loved to talk about that, but his comics are tasteful and fun:


So it's your turn -- what do you think is the meaning of life?

 

Introducing the Book of Genesis

As I explain in my 2015 post, I believe that Moses "wrote" Genesis along with the rest of the Pentateuch (Torah -- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy). I put that in quotes because I believe that Joshua served as Moses' scribe, and that Moses received many of these stories from God while God was giving Moses the Law.


Purpose and Occasion. The above paragraph helps us understand what's going on. The Israelites have escaped Egypt. They have no idea who they are as a people. After 400 years, even the story of Joseph has probably been turned into a myth (if anyone even remembered it), let alone the story of Abraham.


So, God is going to explain to His people who they are and where they came from. But more importantly, God is also going to explain to His people who He is. You see, there were a lot of gods in the ancient religions. The Hebrews had just spent many generations in Egypt, and they were walking through the lands of the Canaanites. Many, many, many gods in those religions. God wanted His people to know the truth, and also why it would be so foolish the worship the false gods of their neighbors. (They did it anyway.) Hence, the Book of Genesis.


The Greek Old Testament starts with the word "genesis" which more or less means "the origin of" or "the beginning of". It translates the Hebrew word bereshith, which is the first word of the Hebrew Bible. Ergo, the first book of the Bible is named for the first word of the Bible.


When the beginning began, God was already there. He is the beginning of everything.


Themes. Let me quote my 2015 post: "In Genesis, we see all of the main themes of Scripture introduced:

  • God and His provision. God created an entire universe for Adam out of love and with a desire to have a relationship with him. We meet the all-powerful and personal God who is totally unlike any other near eastern god.

  • Human Worth. Humans are unique in the universe, so we should take one another seriously, compassionately, and constructively.

  • Sin. Adam and Eve disobey God’s command by yielding to temptation, and their children continue that downward spiral. In this, we learn why God seems distant from us and why people don’t act very much like God.

  • God’s Holiness. God set the rules because He knows what is good and right; our disobedience demands judgments, yet even in Genesis we see God’s mercy.

  • Covenant. God has a personal relationship with humans, demonstrated in His covenants with us. God has also promised His faithfulness to these covenants.

  • Forgiveness in Christ. All of these themes point to Jesus, who sustains the universe, who becomes human, who pays for sin, who demonstrates God’s forgiveness, who keeps God’s covenant, and who teaches us truth and justice."


Here's a great Bible Project video that puts this all together:


Aside: God Did Not Write Genesis to Answer Your Scientific Questions

God did not give us Genesis to answer our modern scientific questions from our modern worldview. God gave His people the answers to the most important questions they needed answered. Think about it. This book is thousands of years old, written to people who didn't realize that they weren't supposed to worship hippos. They thought that the earth gave birth to the sun every morning. They thought that rains came when you performed the correct sexualized ritual.


It's not a very sophisticated audience (yet).


These verses give us truth -- very profound and beautiful truth -- but not necessarily in the way that our modern mindset wants it. In other words, you might want to know what happened to the dinosaurs. Or if the universe is really 93 billion light years wide. Or if there are folded dimensions. (The articles I link to share some "conventional wisdom" on those matters from a secular perspective.) I find those questions very interesting myself. But I don't find those questions very important. Whatever those answers are will be compatible with the meaning of Genesis, but Genesis wasn't written to answer those questions.

 

This Week's Big Idea: The Controversies of Genesis 1

The next few sections focus on the arguments people have about Genesis 1 (primarily the age of the universe and the origin of humanity). If you're not interested, by all means skip these sections. And do not feel obligated to spend precious group time talking about them! But I link to a number of resources below, in hopes they will help you help group members who want to know more.


My recommendation: save your group time to talk about "the image of God" and what God created humans for.


#1: The Age and Origin of the Universe

Here are two poles of this debate:

  • Person 1: "God created the earth/universe about 6,000 years old."

  • Person 2: "The universe sprang into existence billions of years ago."

I grew up in Houston surrounded by Person 2s. It's only been recently that I have met Person 1s. These two organizations summarize the positions:

Both groups work very hard to produce interesting and engaging videos, courses, and articles.


Answers in Genesis -- The Young Earth

A few weeks ago, Shelly and I visited The Ark Encounter and Creation Museum on our way back from a conference in Chicago. They are sponsored by Answers in Genesis.

(First, let me say that YOU CAN FIT A LOT OF STUFF ON A FULL-SIZED ARK. But more on that when we study Genesis 6 and 7.) The Creation Museum is built around the belief that Genesis 1 describes six literal 24-hour days. (Their website explains their arguments.)


Their basic premise is solid: "There is no biblical or scientific reason to be ashamed of believing in a recent six-day creation." But at the end of it all, they say, "Jesus taught that Adam and Eve were made at the “beginning of creation,” not billions of years after the beginning. If the universe is billions of years old, Jesus’ statement was a lie."

In other words, "If you disagree with us, you're calling Jesus a liar."


Well, that makes intelligent debate more difficult.


Kurzgesagt -- The Godless Ancient Universe

Kurzgesagt probably doesn't teach anything different than what you were taught in public school -- they just do in with a high production value. This is the "Big Bang" and "universe is 13.7 billion years old" belief:

You won't catch this from a single video, but their content oozes with secularism. (Their most recent video is really in-your-face about it; they draw the correct conclusion, but their reasoning is very convoluted.) They treat any kind of Judeo-Christian perspective with a "covered smirk".


Yeah, have fun debating with that.


(Btw, scientists are now wondering if they are off by about 13 billion years. Just saying.)


Genesis 1 -- this week's passage -- is the battleground for this debate. Yay! 🎉


#2: The Origin of Humanity

You probably expected to see this one first. Again, two poles:

  • Person 1: "God created Adam and Eve about 6,000 years ago."

  • Person 2: "People have randomly evolved over millions (billions?) of years."


Answers in Genesis -- Humans Are God's Special Creation

As above, I will let their website explain their argument. Here's their quick little video:

They strongly denounce anyone who agrees with Darwinian evolution.


Kurzgesagt -- The Godless Ancient Universe

They have shorter videos on this subject (not that you need to watch any of them), but this particular video just came out a few weeks ago. It's an hour long.

Again, probably very similar to what you were taught in public school. I actually watched "Inherit the Wind" in high school (if that means anything to you) --

It's everywhere. One of my favorite engineer-turned-youtubers is Mark Rober, and out of nowhere in his last video, he dropped this "matter-of-fact bomb": true scientists can obviously observe that humans evolved from rabbits.

That came from left field; I'm not sure what it really contributed to his video. But it's out there -- he believes that if I reject his understanding of Darwinian evolution, I can't be a true scientist. (See below; I reject his understanding of Darwinian evolution.)


And yes, Genesis 1 is the foundational crux of this debate. Your Bible study group may be pretty united in your approach to this chapter, but I can guarantee you that some Sunday School classes somewhere in our country are going to have a very interesting morning.


Common Approaches to Genesis

Let's start here: how many of you would say you're on one of the poles I labeled above? Probably not many of you; most Christians find themselves somewhere in between.


The Common Christian Approaches to Genesis 1

  • Young Earth Creationism -- see Answers in Genesis (I mentioned them above). This is the belief that Genesis 1 refers to six literal 24-hour days.

  • Old Earth Creationism -- see Reasons to Believe. This is the belief that the natural observations of an ancient universe does not contradict the Bible.

  • Evolutionary Creation -- see BioLogos. This is the belief that God used evolutionary processes to bring about Adam and Eve (thus Genesis 1 is poetic).

  • Intelligent Design -- see The Discovery Institute. This is the belief that the universe shows clear evidence of being "designed". It is agnostic about Genesis 1.

Most of us probably gravitate toward one of those camps. Those websites are good resources if you want to learn more about them. You can also buy the excellent Counterpoints book, Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (2017).


But there are even more perspectives, including:

And there are plenty more.


The Common Interpretive Approaches to Genesis 1

Here are some of the hermeneutical approaches to Genesis 1:


Literal

  • Young-Earth Creationism. "Day" means "24-hour period".

  • Old-Earth Creationism. "Day" can mean just about anything.

Figurative

  • Genesis 1 as Poetry. Lots of other camps use this tool, and rightly so! Genesis 1 is obviously poetic. But how much does the poetry correspond with reality?

  • The “Gap Theory”. Some camps still use this idea that there is a gap between verses 1 and 2 in which God tried out the things that make up the fossil record.

Agnostic

  • Evolutionary Creation and Intelligent Design. Genesis 1 has important cultural value, but it doesn't tell us anything about the history of the universe.


[Aside on "the appearance of age": how could we be see light from billions of light years away, or how could we have fossils that seem to be millions of years old if everything was created 6,000 years ago? One common proposal is that God created the universe with "the appearance of age". I'm still grappling with that idea.]


There you go. Much of what you've heard and debated about Genesis 1 probably falls somewhere in those camps. If you have heard something else, please let me know! I'm always excited to learn new ideas about the Bible.

 

This Week's Bonus Big Idea: Why the Genesis Debates Matter

Why can't we just ignore these debates? Why can't we all just get along? Well, it's because these debates do matter -- but we have to understand why they matter.


Let me start with three things.

  1. The Bible Is the Inspired, Inerrant Word of God. Any position that disregards Genesis 1 is immediately suspect. But as I said above, God did not include Genesis 1 in the Bible to answer our personal scientific questions. God wrote Genesis 1 with His purpose and meaning in mind. We are to be completely respectful and humble in our approach to this text.

  2. Scientists Are Not Inerrant. Any position that is dependent on a particular scientific observation (that will likely change next year) is immediately suspect.

  3. Biblical Scholars Are Not Inerrant. In matters such as this one, where conservative Christians disagree what the text means, any position that claims to be the only possibly correct position is immediately suspect. Remember what I said above -- God did not write Genesis 1 to answer our personal scientific questions.

In other words, we are to be completely respectful of the text and also to be completely humble before God and one another when discussing this chapter.


But now let me move to one topic that I believe is of crucial importance:

  • Adam truly existed and was specially created by God as the first human.

I believe that rejecting this doctrine creates some unsolvable problems for Christian theology.

  1. The immortal human soul and its destination of heaven or hell. According to Genesis 1:26-27, humanity is unique among the creatures. This whole "fuss" of Christianity is the idea that God created humanity because He wanted to share creation with us.

  2. Original sin. If Adam didn't exist, then the doctrine of original sin -- the explanation for why all people fall under God's judgment -- loses its coherence. Paul's beautiful description of First Adam / Second Adam (Jesus) in Rom 5:14, 1 Cor 15:45 clearly assumes that there was a "first Adam".

  3. Incarnation and salvation. It all builds to this: Jesus became a human to save humans from their sin (Matt 1:21). If we're just a bunch of parallel-evolved apes, then can we know that Jesus died for all of us? Acts 11:18 “So then, God has given repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles” tells me that we are all brothers and sisters.

In other words, I have a very hard time seeing how any belief in Darwinian evolution can be reconciled with biblical theology. Here's an article I wrote for the Bulletin of Ecclesial Theology if you want to know more:

Ward_5.1 Liturgical Adam
.pdf
Download PDF • 617KB

Warning: It's not short.


But the other topic of the day is not of that same crucial importance:

  • Beliefs about the age of the universe do not impact salvation.

This is one place where I part ways with the people of Answers in Genesis. Their entire argument hinges on the belief that Mark 10:6 ("But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female.") means that Jesus believed in a young earth. If anyone can show that Jesus might have meant something different, their entire argument falls apart.


Well, I believe Jesus meant how Matthew worded this same statement in Matthew 19:4: “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that he who created them in the beginning made them male and female?"


In other words, God planned creation in full long before He actually created anything. And before the foundation of the earth, He even planned for human salvation. Jesus was the lamb slain before time began, or as 1 Peter 1:20 says, "He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you." Jesus entered into creation long after the creation was complete, but the plan was always in place.


Likewise with Adam and Eve, God created them to be male and female even before they were actually created. That was God's plan. Jesus' words are not affected whether that plan took 6 days or billions of years. I don't think that's what Jesus was talking about at all.


So there you go -- I believe that parts of this debate are very important to Christian theology. But not all of it. As we study this chapter, let's keep this in mind.

 

Genesis 1: An Overview

If I'm going to take this long to talk about things before actually talking about this week's passage, I may as well go longer. Let me say two things that I think we can all agree on:


One Purpose of Genesis 1 is to show God's Perfect Plan for Creation

I'll use this cute graphic to illustrate what I mean:

(See the cute little dinosaurs?) Do you see the pattern (top/bottom)? It's often called "Days of forming" and "Days of filling". In other words, God carefully and artfully put the universe together so as to make life on earth wonderful for humans.


The only thing missing from this graphic is Day 7 Sabbath, but we'll talk about that below.


[Aside: proponents of a young earth note that the order of creation doesn't make sense if eons passed between each day, as is often suggested by Christians who believe in an "old" earth. I agree with them that the order of creation is intentional and meaningful, and it certainly seem strange to have plants before the sun. That leaves us with important questions -- what does a "young earth" proponent do with the apparent age of the universe, and what does an "old earth" proponent do with the order of Genesis 1? Well, as you can guess, Christian scholars have thought about and written about those very questions, enough to settle them in their minds. You can read those answers in the books and websites I linked above.]


Whatever you believe about what exactly Genesis 1 means, you should believe it means that the world we live in has been carefully and beautifully prepared for us.


[Bonus aside: this is why I'm very comfortable with the idea that there are no aliens on other planets. God created the universe and "fine-tuned" it for human life to exist where we do. It's not like it was "extra work" for God to create the rest of the universe.]


Another Purpose of Genesis 1 is to show God's Superiority above All gods

This is what would have resonated the most with the early Hebrews. No offense, but they probably weren't admiring the fine-tuning of the universe. Instead, they were thinking about the competing gods and creation stories they absorbed from their neighbors.


You know that every culture and religion has some sort of a creation story (myth) -- everybody wants to explain where they came from. This website lists seven:

It has some names you might recognize -- the Eridu Genesis from Mesopotamia, the Enuma Elish from Mesopotamia, the Egyptian Creation Myth. Those are all tales that would have been circulating in some form during the Exodus. It is not unreasonable to think that the Hebrews would have heard multiple versions of it. (Question: why didn't that website list the Bible? Maybe it's because they secretly know it's not a myth??)

This is where the genius of the construction of Genesis 1 really shines. Every one of the "deities" appealed to in the counter-creations is created in Genesis 1. The sun? Created. The moon? Created. The stars? Created. The great beasts? Created. The land? The sea? The sky? The earth itself? All created. All created by God for the purpose of giving people a place to live. God (Yahweh) is the only true God of the universe.


Do you want to worship the creation, or the Creator?


(Yes, that's a depressing question because we all know that God's people have routinely chosen to worship the creation.)


One last thing -- this Bible Project video puts everything into context for us.


 

Part 1: In the Beginning, God (Genesis 1:1-5)

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” There was an evening, and there was a morning: one day.

Just ... gorgeous.


Let's pair this with John 1 (here's your first Christmas tie-in):

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created through him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.

When the beginning began, God was there, the Word was there, and the Spirit was there. They did the creating. No one else created anything.


The word for "God" in Genesis 1 is Elohim, the plural form of El (the generic word for "god"). I have heard Hebrew scholars say that in this kind of context, it is a "plural of majesty" -- we could even read it as "God of gods".


The word for "created" (bara) is always used in the Hebrew Bible for God's work of fashioning something/forming something anew. This particular word does not have to mean "out of nothing" (ex nihilo), but other parts of the Bible (like God's words in Isaiah 45) make it clear that there was nothing before God created it.


First, God created "the heavens and the earth". The Bible Project video explains that the Hebrew phrase more or less means "everything above and everything below". In other words, it's a poetic phrase for "everything". Or, "The beginning of everything we know happened when God created the universe."


The word "now" at the beginning of verse 2 is not a disjunctive in the sense that some people want to use it, that verse 1 is separated from verse 2. The way that the Hebrew grammar works, verse 1 acts as the "title", verse 2 acts as the background, and verse 3 starts the narrative.


Initially, the earth was "formless and empty" -- another poetic Hebrew phrase tohu v'bohu. In other words, it was just an empty mass, a kind of blob floating in space. In other words,

  • First, God brought being out of nothingness,

  • Then, God brought order out of chaos.


The first step in this process is to create "light". We cannot overstate enough the beautiful simplicity of the formula: God spoke, and it happened. Pair this with John 1, and it's even more beautiful. Jesus is the "word" that God spoke by which all things came into being. God did not create Jesus (no matter what the Mormons say); Jesus has always been with God. Perhaps we can say that Jesus is the "agent" by which God acted in creation.


But Jesus was not the only one at work -- the Spirit of God was also involved. The word for "Spirit" is also the word for "wind" or "breath", but when it is used "of God", it always refers to some kind of energizing/empowering "divine Spirit" (see Gen 41:38, Ex 31:3, Num 24:2, 1 Sam 10:10, etc.). What was the Spirit of God doing? "Hovering" -- this word is also used of a mother hen "brooding" over her chicks. In other words, the Spirit of God was preparing the "deeps" for the process of forming and filling.


Why the emphasis on the "watery depths"? Because the surrounding cultures (certainly the Babylonians!) thought that the sea was the home of vengeful gods, dangerous and capricious. The ancient Mesopotamians wouldn't have known that light penetrates 200 meters into the ocean; they would have simply thought of the ocean as a place of darkness and fear. But no! The ocean is not some powerful deity that needs to be tamed! It's just another (powerful) object of nature that God prepares and populates. It is one of God's tools for this beautiful creation. (This is more clear when you realize that the two words for "water" in verse 2 are different -- the first word represents the "chaotic deep", and the second is just plain 'ol "water". God is bringing order to chaos.)


The word God uses is the jussive form of "to be". It's so simple. God said "let there be", and "there was". This is not "difficult" work for God. He wills it, and His will is completely fulfilled in reality.


Of course, the "light" contrasts the "darkness". We've talked about the importance of "light" as a concept in the Bible --

Without light, life and order is impossible. Light enables vision, and it represents knowledge. This is a very symbol-laden passage.


And God says that this work is "good". He "saw" (reflected on) the light, and concluded that it was good. Here, "good" means "conducive for life" -- light is more conducive for life than darkness. But God did not do away with darkness! He separated it (divided it) from the light. He put the darkness in its place, and now even the darkness serves God's purposes for creation. That's how powerful God is. And today, we even enjoy the night.


God then names the light (day) and the darkness (night). As we see in chapter 2, "naming" something is part of having dominion over it. (Remember how the Babylonians gave Daniel a "new name" (Belteshazzar)? That's what that's about.) God does this seven times during the creation narrative -- we see the number "7" baked into the universe we live in.


And then we have the beautiful formula, "There was an evening, and there was a morning: one day." If you read through the top portions of this post, you saw that much of the debate as to "the age of the universe" and related questions generally comes back to this.


The Jews use this formula to mark time -- their "day" starts in the evening (we just studied these implications with the crucifixion and burial of Jesus -- their Sabbath started on what we would call Friday evening, so they were rushing to "get Jesus killed and buried" before the sun set).


The biggie -- "day" (yom). This word can refer to long or indefinite periods of time. But in the Bible, when it's numbered, it almost always refers to a 24-hour period. And the reference to "evening" and "morning" certainly suggests a familiar passage of time. (And the original audience would have never dreamed that this meant anything other than a 24-hour period.)


So what do we do with that?


Let's start here: time itself is a part of creation. God created time. Time is necessary for life to exist as we know it. So, part of this description is just helping us see how God turned the universe into something we could live in. "Evening and morning" is a part of that.


How could there be "evening and morning" without a sun? Finally -- an easy question!

Rev 21:22 I did not see a temple in it, because the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, because the glory of God illuminates it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never close by day because it will never be night there. 26 They will bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. 27 Nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Do you really think that the sun is the source of life on our planet? God uses the sun, but God can take care of us without the sun just fine. Pair that with this truism:

When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we'd first begun.

Right?


In other words, I think God has more power over time than we appreciate. I think that's the secret to understanding "day". And I don't think we are mentally equipped to grasp the depths of it.

 

The Formula Repeats

Our lesson skips from day 1 to the end of day 6. I get it -- there's no time. Please read and enjoy those verses in your own study.

  • The "expanse"/"firmament" -- I think we can think of this like a thick cloud cover.

  • The "lights in the sky" -- God synced their movement to the passage of time He created us to need.

  • The "great lights" -- you'll see lots of references to what other religions worship.

  • "According to their kinds" -- implies that God properly categorized everything.

  • "Be fruitful and multiply" -- pagan rituals do not create fertility; God has given it.

 

Part 2: The First Human (Genesis 1:26-31)

26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
27 So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female.
28 God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” 29 God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, 30 for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth—everything having the breath of life in it—I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. 31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.

Lots of debate about the plural here -- "us" --

  • Reference to the Trinity?

  • Plural of majesty?

  • Plural of court?

We know that God did not share the powers of creation with the angels. And we know that God did not give the Hebrews a robust doctrine of the Trinity until the coming of Jesus (another Christmas tie-in). I kinda think this is in the category of "words God used to describe the indescribable". It's God pulling back the curtain to help us see what's happening behind the scenes.


I've already talked about the importance of the "special creation of humankind" (and how it is incompatible with a Darwinian understanding of evolution). You, and every human who has ever lived, is priceless to God the Father, who uniquely created you and loves you.


Obviously, my post has already gone way long, and we might be just now getting to the actually important part of the lesson. What I mean is that the age of the universe is an interesting academic question. But who you are as a person is so much more important.


But due to time limitations, I have to punt.


"The Image of God" -- we covered that in depth in the Sanctity of Human Life lesson from 2019:

"Fill the earth and subdue it" -- the function of human life, what God created us to do, I covered in the above post and also when we studied 2 Thessalonians:

Please take your time explaining these two commissions:

  1. Be fruitful and multiply

  2. Fill the earth and subdue it

I can't recommend highly enough Tim Keller's book Every Good Endeavor to give you a deep appreciation for everything God packs into those commands. And this Bible Project video captures a whole lot:


When God finished His creating, He saw that it was very good. Complete and life-giving.


[Aside from David: David pointed out something to me I had not noticed -- plants and animals are procreated "according to their kinds". But people are not, and that's because people are made in the image of God. We might look like our parents, but we are made in God's image. That's awesome!]


[Bonus aside: I can't help but note that we were originally created to be vegetarians. I know, I'm shocked too.]

 

Part 3: Well-Earned Rest (Genesis 2:1-3)

So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed. 2 On the seventh day God had completed his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. 3 God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it he rested from all his work of creation.

God did not need to rest. (It's not "rest because of exhaustion" but "winners take breaks", as my daughter says.) This is for human benefit:

  • John 5:16 Therefore, the Jews began persecuting Jesus because he was doing these things on the Sabbath. 17 Jesus responded to them, “My Father is still working, and I am working also.”

  • Mark 2:27 Then he told them, “The Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath."

It's a cycle of work and rest that God baked into our lives for our good. (Note that it's six days of work and one day of rest, but I digress.) Six days to accomplish the task God has given us, one day for God.

Ex 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy: 9 You are to labor six days and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. You must not do any work—you, your son or daughter, your male or female servant, your livestock, or the resident alien who is within your city gates. 11 For the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and everything in them in six days; then he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and declared it holy.

I have a lot more about the Sabbath in this post on Luke 6

And I really like this Bible Project video:

Are Christians breaking the fourth commandment by worshiping God on Sunday rather than Saturday? Seventh-Day Adventists would say yes. The apostles would say no. The apostles would say that such a debate is missing the point of "rest" and "worship".


Humans were created to need rest. A daily cycle of work and rest. A weekly cycle of work and rest. A seasonal cycle of work and rest. A yearly cycle of work and rest.


Genesis 1 tells us that God created all of this carefully and intentionally for our good. And it was very good.


Let's enjoy and celebrate that this week. Soon enough, we will be talking about where it all went wrong.

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